Scientists Find 40,000-Year-Old Star Maps Featuring ‘Sophisticated Knowledge of Constellations’

40,000-year-old cave paintings reveal the use of complex astronomy.

Ancient paintings previously thought to have been prehistoric animal symbols are ancient star maps, experts have recently revealed.

“Early cave art shows that people had advanced knowledge of the night sky within the last ice age. Intellectually, they were hardly any different to us today…”

A new scientific study has revealed that humans had a sophisticated knowledge of stars and constellations more than 40,000 years ago.

Animal symbols represent star constellations in the night sky. Image Credit: Alistair Coombs

Scientists have revealed that ancient humans kept track of time by observing how stars change their position in the sky.

The ancient works of art, found in many places throughout Europe, are not simply representations of wild animals, as previously thought.

Instead, animal symbols represent constellations of stars in the night sky. They are used to represent dates, marking events such as asteroid strikes, explains a new study published by the University of Edinburgh.

Scientists suggest that ancient people perfectly understood the effect caused by the gradual change of the axis of Earth’s rotation.

The discovery of this phenomenon, called precession of the equinoxes, was previously credited to the ancient Greeks.

“Early cave art shows that people had advanced knowledge of the night sky within the last ice age. Intellectually, they were hardly any different to us today,” explained D.r Martin Sweatman, from the University of Edinburgh.

“These findings support a theory of multiple comet impacts over the course of human development, and will probably revolutionize how prehistoric populations are seen.”

Experts from Edinburgh and Kent’s universities studied ancient cave art located in Turkey, Spain, France, and Germany.

Scientists obtained the age of cave art by chemically dating the paints used by ancient humans.

Then, using computer software, scientists predicted the position of the stars when the paints were made. This revealed that what may have looked earlier, like abstract animal depictions, could be interpreted as constellations as they appeared in the distant past.

The scientists concluded that these incredible cave paintings are evidence that ancient humans practiced a sophisticated timekeeping method based on astronomical calculations. All of this, even though the cave paintings were separated in time through tens of thousands of years.

“The world’s oldest sculpture, the Lion-Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave, from 38,000 BC, was also found to conform to this ancient time-keeping system,” reveal experts in a statement by the University of Edinburgh.

The Lion-Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave. Image Credit: Oleg Kuchar Museum Ulm, Germany.

The mysterious figurine is believed to commemorate a catastrophic asteroid impact that occurred around 11,000 years ago, kick-starting the so-called Younger Dryas Event, a period of sudden climate cooling.

“The date carved into the Vulture Stone is interpreted to be 10,950 BC, to within 250 years,” scientists explained in the study.

“This date is written using precession of the equinoxes, with animal symbols representing star constellations corresponding to the four solstices and equinoxes of this year.”

The study was published in the Athens Journal of History.

Join the discussion and participate in awesome giveaways in our mobile Telegram group. Join Curiosmos on Telegram Today.


Athens Journal of History


Created with love for the passionately Curious. was created with two words in mind: Curious and Cosmos. See what we did there? Curious: /ˈkjʊərɪəs/ eager to know or learn something. Something strange; unusual. Cosmos /ˈkɒzmɒs/ the universe seen as a well-ordered whole. A system of thought. You could say that Curiosmos is the Cosmos for the curious reader.
Back to top button

Adblock detected :(

Hi, we understand that enjoy and Ad-free experience while surfing the internet, however, many sites, including ours, depend on ads to continue operating and producing the content you are reading now. Please consider turning off Ad-Block. We are committed to reducing the number of ads shown on the site.